WASHINGTON A high-level private-sector working group on Thursday issued a report recommending that financial services companies make broader and more frequent public disclosures as a way to improve market discipline.
The panel, called together at the behest of federal regulators in April, was made up of chief financial officers from 11 large banking and securities companies, and former Chase Manhattan chairman Walter V. Shipley was its head.
In a three-page letter to Federal Reserve Board Governor Laurence H. Meyer, Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr., and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur J. Levitt Jr., Mr. Shipley outlined the panels suggestions for improved disclosure.
Among the suggestions were that market risk be reported quarterly rather than annually, as is now the practice. Mr. Shipley advocated a similar reporting change for credit risk information as well, including exposure by borrower rating and loan concentrations.
At the same time, Mr. Shipley warned the regulators that well-run banks have very different but equally valid ways of managing risk and cautioned them against any attempt to create uniform disclosure requirements.
The panel also recommended that regulators create a standing public-private advisory group to improve disclosure efforts.
Banking consultant Bert Ely of Ely & Co. in Alexandria, Va., said that the impact on banks of the increased disclosures would be minimal. For these big companies it is not that big a deal to move from annual to quarterly reporting, he said. There is some regulatory burden involved, but I would characterize it as minor.
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